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Authorities in Kenosha hope for peaceful demonstrations into the weekend

Posted at 7:55 PM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 20:55:58-04

KENOSHA — Authorities in Kenosha are hoping demonstrations remain peaceful this weekend as more National Guard troops from out of state make their way into town.

Wisconsin National Guard Major General Paul Knapp said there are more than 1,000 Wisconsin National Guard troops in Kenosha, and he said additional resources are coming in from Michigan, Alabama and Arizona.

Major General Knapp said their goal is to support local authorities. He said he wouldn't say he's "concerned," rather he says he's keeping track of any planned demonstrations this weekend.

"We're making sure we're prepared that anything might come up over the weekend," Knapp said.

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, Ill., remains in custody in Illinois, where he will remain for a few more weeks until another extradition hearing.

Rittenhouse is accused of shooting and killing two people, as well as shooting another in the arm. His attorneys are claiming self-defense.

"We've had two people lose their lives senselessly while peacefully protesting," said Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis. "I'm not sure of the details behind what led to the altercation, but two people were killed, one person seriously injured, senselessly."

A criminal complaint says video appears to show Rittenhouse opening fire Tuesday night. Questions remain about how video shows he was able to walk past law enforcement, hands up, just moments after the alleged shootings.

Chief Miskinis tried to clarify Friday afternoon, saying plenty of people have been visibly armed during gatherings or demonstrations in Kenosha recently. He said officers were called out to a shots fired complaint—not a shooting or a person down. Chief Miskinis said many shots fired complaints were being reported in the past few days.

"We have armed individuals out protesting, or counter-protesting or simply exercising their right who put their hands up," Miskinis said. "It might have been abnormal two weeks ago. It's no longer abnormal. So there was nothing to suggest this person was involved in criminal behavior. He continued to make contact near the officer's door, and you can hear on the recording I heard that the officers are telling him to get out of the way. Clearly, they're not seeing him as a suspect or a threat of any kind."

Chief Miskinis also tried to clarify comments he made earlier in the week about the curfew.

"In no way was my comment earlier intended to suggest that by being out after curfew that those persons played a role in their deaths," Miskinis said. "Tragically lives were lost and a person were injured. That rests solely on the person who did that. Not on the victims of this crime."

A separate video being shared on social media shows law enforcement throwing Rittenhouse a bottle of water and thanking him for being there.

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said that wasn't a Kenosha County Sheriff's vehicle in the video, and he added the comments of whoever said that in the video doesn't reflect his department.

"As you could clearly see, the situation escalated Tuesday night because a 17-year-old boy who appears to be carrying what appears to be an assault rifle, who has no idea how to handle situation like this," Sheriff Beth said. "I don't care if he had the right intentions or not, two people are currently dead, and one almost had his arm blown off. So the comments that whoever was in that armored vehicle said, it does not reflect what we here in Kenosha are asking for."

The Sheriff added he does not want armed civilians to come try to help law enforcement at all in the next few days. He said the best people can do is abide by the curfew and stay home.

Sheriff Beth said about 50 people have been arrested in connection with unrest-related behavior, and he said he heard most of them are not from Kenosha.

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